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FDI versus Exports: Multiple Host Countries and Empirical Evidence


  • Harald Oberhofer
  • Michael Pfaffermayr


There are two main options for companies to serve foreign markets: exports and foreign direct investment (FDI). Based on the Helpman, Melitz and Yeaple (2004) model for multiple host countries this paper derives a clear theoretical prediction for the decision between both strategies. A bivariate probit model is estimated using a large data set of European companies to analyze the probability of using one or the other strategy. The empirical evidence indicates that more productive firms less (more) probably use the export (FDI) strategy to serve foreign markets. Moreover, a considerable number of companies use a combination of both strategies to serve foreign markets, which is in line with a multiple country model.
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Suggested Citation

  • Harald Oberhofer & Michael Pfaffermayr, 2012. "FDI versus Exports: Multiple Host Countries and Empirical Evidence," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 316-330, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:35:y:2012:i:3:p:316-330 DOI: j.1467-9701.2011.01403.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pinuccia Calia & Maria Ferrante, 2013. "How do firms combine different internationalisation modes? A multivariate probit approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(4), pages 663-696, December.
    2. repec:spr:chfecr:v:4:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1186_s40589-016-0037-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Iza Lejárraga & Harald Oberhofer, 2015. "Performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises in services trade: evidence from French firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 673-702, October.
    4. Joachim Wagner, 2012. "International trade and firm performance: a survey of empirical studies since 2006," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 235-267, June.
    5. Filomena Pietrovito & Alberto Franco Pozzolo & Luca Salvatici, 2016. "Internationalization choices: an ordered probit analysis at industry level," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 561-594, March.
    6. Farrukh Suvankulov, 2015. "Revisiting National Border Effects in Foreign Trade in Goods of Canadian Provinces," Staff Working Papers 15-28, Bank of Canada.
    7. Cho, Janghee & Chun, Hyunbae & Hur, Jung, 2014. "Choosing multiple offshoring strategies: Determinants and complementarity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 42-57.
    8. Liu, Zhiyuan & Xu, Yue & Wang, Peijie & Akamavi, Raphaël, 2016. "A pendulum gravity model of outward FDI and export," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1356-1371.
    9. Aurora Teixeira & Cátia Coimbra, 2014. "The determinants of the internationalization speed of Portuguese university spin-offs: An empirical investigation," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 270-308, September.
    10. Ronny Thomas & K. Narayanan, 2016. "Outward FDI, Exports and Technological Efforts: A Study of Indian Manufacturing Firms," Working Papers id:11383, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation


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